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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Time is Now: Parents aren't always able to put on a happy face

Send your donation to: The Time Is Now to Help, PO Box 70, Pell Lake, WI 53157

www.timeisnowtohelp.org

Editor's Note: The following is a letter to The Time Is Now, a private charity serving Walworth County. The founder, who knew poverty as a child, now provides help for those in need. Every penny donated goes to the needy for daily necessities of life. Donors will receive a tax-deductible itemized receipt showing exactly where every penny was spent. We'll publish a letter most weeks.

Dear WC,

I noticed that one of my students was sad and had been for some time. The child is a good student and we share a close bond. When I questioned what was causing this sadness, I was not surprised when the child opened up and said that his dad had left. The father had been gone since the beginning of the school year.

He also told me they had lost their apartment and were living in a hotel, and now they've been asked to leave the hotel they were living in.

If you could please see if there is anything that could be done it would be greatly appreciated. I don't know what I can do to restore this child's happiness, but I sure would like to see that smile that I have missed for many months.

A concerned teacher

Dear readers and concerned teacher,

I want to thank this teacher for being observant and bold enough to question the source of their student's unhappiness. Sometimes all it takes is a question from a concerned friend, neighbor--or a teacher--to open the door to reveal the pain that is hidden behind sad eyes.

I went to the hotel and visited with the mother and her two children. Sometimes I talk to the parent(s) without the child(ren) present, but these children were very aware of the problems their family was having.

How can a parent be with their children every day and not communicate with them what they are going through? Sometimes that communication is built upon staying together and being strong; other times it is an emotional breakdown by the parent in front of the children. They are so distraught and lost in despair that they cannot hide this from their children.

These repeated emotions can be very detrimental to the children. More often than not the children do not completely understand other than the fact that the person they are looking up to for guidance--their parent--is breaking down in front of them.

This is the situation I found here. When I saw how upset the mother was, I asked her if she thought we should talk while the children were present.

"No it doesn't matter," she said. "They know what is going on."

She continued to carry on emotionally. I knew these children needed to see some stability come out of this. I felt my communication should be a ray of hope.

I found out the father was an alcoholic. He neglected his family's needs and disappeared into his own selfish world.

She told me she was unable to work due to her not having a car. Her husband took the only car when he abandoned the family.

Our first step was to provide them with some food. I went to the store and purchased a week's worth of groceries. I also stopped to pick up some hot food for them to eat right away.

When I returned the children and mother were so grateful. They tried to eat slowly and politely but I could tell they were very hungry. After they finished eating we continued with a plan to get their life back in order.

Ninety percent of the time it is a mother, a tough single mother who has to come out and be the sole parent that provides. For the most part, the mothers who are there with their children are able to come out of their mental situation of despair pretty quickly when they see that help is there. They pull themselves together and realize they are the ones the family relies on for financial support. Many women struggle to receive the financial support from the fathers that they deserve and the child care they need in order to obtain and retain a job. This mother was now over the shock of being thrust into being the sole parent and ready to do anything necessary to get her family on its feet again.

We shared one of our generously donated vehicles with this mother. She was so happy to have reliable transportation. I managed to network the mother a job.

I thank all of you who are able to offer employment. If there is anyone willing to offer a job to someone in need, please let me know what position you might have. Those of you who have offered jobs but have not heard back from me, please have patience and accept my apology. Often it is due to circumstances such as geographic area or job skills that have made us unable to fit someone into the position.

The mother has rejoined her old circle of friends and added some new ones through introductions from our Time Is Now network. I am glad to report they are all doing well. I received a thankful letter from the teacher saying how nice it was to see this child happy in school again. When the teacher inquired of the child how things were going for him at home his reply was, "We have a new place to live. My mom is working and happy and my little sister isn't hungry anymore."

Health and happiness,

God bless everyone,

WC

A special thank you to: J.D. Development, MLH, Bill and Lois McEssy, Tom and Kathleen Murray, Dick and Jean Honeyager, Jay Ieronimo, Steve and Catherine Boho, Clarence and Marilyn Schawk, Marilou Casey, Chet and Dorothy Forsythe, Ronald and Lucille Jackson, Nancy Waspi, James and Carolyn Miles, Winfield Wimmer, Paula Eichorst, Leo and Karen Hurtgen, James and Betty Kroupa, Charles Koerner, Franklin and Joan Jones, Robert and Karen Obney, Wayne Stearns, Gerald and Marilyn Wilkin, Nancy Russell, Thomas and Joyce Roche and Albert and Ellen Burnell.

Pick 'N Save We Care Program: Please sign up for the "We Care" program at your local Pick 'N Save. A percentage of each purchase will go directly to the Time is Now to Help. Just designate Acct. No. 832410 on your Advantage Plus Savers Club Card application.

ooo

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